A bookplate is a label stuck in a book originally with the purpose of identifying the owner of the book. More recently bookplates have become an item for authors to autograph and send to fans who cannot attend a book signing in person.
Designing and printing your own bookplates is fairly easy, but depends on your personal tastes and design skills and how elaborate you want your design to be.
Bookplates for Autographing
If you are an author you might want to design a bookplate that you can autograph and have available to hand out or post to fans who request one. Another option is to scan and convert your autograph to a digital image and offer a bookplate template on your website that your fans can download and print out themselves.
Commonly such bookplates include an image of the book cover and might include either a scanned autograph or white space for your autograph and possibly space for a message or the recipient’s name.
Designing Your Bookplate
You can use a program such as Paint, or other graphics software, to edit your book cover image and/or your scan of your autograph so that it is a suitable size for your labels. (In Paint, use Image, Stretch, input a number less than 100%).
Alternatively you can insert a full size image in Word and use the image handles to drag it smaller, and the relevant options on the Image Toolbar to position or crop it and to wrap any text around your image or float it over the image.
You can print your bookplates onto plain paper and paste them into your books with acid free glue, or print them onto large sized adhesive labels.
Printing Bookplates on Adhesive Labels
You will need a box of labels of a size that will fit the smallest books for which you intend them.
Check the website of the label manufacturer for pre-made Word templates for the specific labels you’ve purchased. (Avery is a brand available in many countries and their website features a range of templates.) Another option is to check Microsoft’s website by connecting through New Document, Templates, Templates on Office Online. Here is an example of a Microsoft pre-designed bookplate template. (Word 2007 users will probably find templates for most labels already available under the Office Button, New... menu.)
Using Tables to Set Up Your Labels
If you’re unable to find a suitable blank template you can construct your own using tables in Word. Some label boxes contain a diagram with the measurements of the label pages, otherwise measure the margins, label width and height, and bleed spaces between labels and write these measurements in the margins.
Set your document's margins to zero and hit Ignore when Word complains.
As an example, if you have four labels to a page (2X2) and a margin all round, create a table consisting of four rows and four columns. Set the first row's height to your top margin measurement, the second and third rows to the height of your labels, and the final row height to the bottom margin measurement. Do the same for the columns. If the labels have ink bleed margins surrounding them each of these spaces requires an additional column or row with the exact measurements.
Once your table is in place, turn off all borders by selecting the table and choosing the No Border option on the Tables Toolbar. Turn on the Show Gridlines option so that you can see your labels.
Some examples of bookplates and bookplate templates:
This article was first published on The Blood-Red Pencil. Copyright © Elsa Neal, 2009.